John Hume’s family has asked mourners to refrain from lining the streets of Londonderry as his body is brought to the city ahead of his funeral.

They have asked people to light a “candle for peace” at home at 21:00 BST on Tuesday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tributes have continued to pour in from presidents and prime ministers for the former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

He died on Monday at the age of 83.

His family said the “heartfelt and sincere condolences” they had received had been “immensely comforting”.

They said he would leave his home in Moville, County Donegal, on Tuesday evening and return to St Eugene’s Cathedral in his native Derry.

“John loved the people of Derry and Donegal,” they said.

“We know he would have prioritised public health and the safety and health of our communities. We’re asking people to follow that guidance, please do not put yourself or others at risk.

“Instead we would ask that people light a candle for peace at 9pm in their homes or at their door.”

His funeral Mass will take place in the cathedral at 11:30 on Wednesday.

The tributes to Mr Hume, who was one of the key architects of the Northern Ireland peace process, reflected his international reputation.

Former US President Bill Clinton remembered his persistence and unshakeable commitment to non-violence, while former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was in office when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, described him as a political titan.

The taoiseach (Irish PM) at the time of the deal, Bertie Ahern, recalled the former SDLP leader as a force for stability amid days of violence and chaos.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Mr Hume as a “political giant”, while the current Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was a “great hero and a true peacemaker”.

A book of condolence for Mr Hume was opened at Derry’s Guildhall on Monday.

Signing the book, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the island had lost its most significant political figure of the 20th Century.

Mr Eastwood compared his predecessor to the famous US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

“John Hume was our Martin Luther King,” he said.

“He was the greatest Irishman ever and he achieved something that no-one could ever achieve before him: he ended the Anglo-Irish conflict, the conflict that had gone on for 800 years, and he gave my generation the opportunity to achieve our political goals peacefully and democratically, and that is an enormous legacy.”

The former Foyle MP and MEP for Northern Ireland, who had dementia and in recent years had lived in a care home in Londonderry, died in the early hours of Monday morning.

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